BENNINGTON, Vt. — After a scoreless first half, the Lesley University women's soccer team put in a pair during the second stanza for a 2-0 victory at Southern Vermont College in women's soccer action at Everett Field Saturday afternoon, the first New England Collegiate Conference (NECC) game of the year for both teams.
LU senior captain Alexis Giusti (Meridian, California) scored what proved to be the game winner in the second half for her team to claim its first league win of the season.
Southern Vermont had an early celebration, thinking it got ahead in the opening five minutes with a finish from the middle of the box. To the chagrin of the Mountaineers and their fans, however, the near-side assistant referee had the flag up to signal an offside infraction by SVC.
Lesley gained a fair share of deep offensive possessions through the first 15 minutes of the game, working the ball into the corners of the Southern Vermont half of the field. While getting off quality crosses, the Lynx could not connect on the back end for the first tally of the day.
The two sides battled through the middle third of the field for the next 20 minutes, the few great chances coming when Lesley worked passes into the penalty area. Twice, SVC freshman keeper Melissa Mascari (Saratoga Springs, N.Y.) came up big, the first time being in the 26th minute of action. Lynx graduate captain Veronica Halen (San Diego, Calif.) started a play with the ball in the center of the field about 35 yards away from the net and carried the ball into the box. Among the melee of players in the box, Mascari went to the ground when Halen collected and fired; unfortunately for the Lynx, the shot went right at Masrcari who corralled it and kept the score at 0-0.
Just over 10 minutes later, the Lynx nearly got themselves on the board again when the ball found junior Samantha Rapant (Pittsfield, Mass.). She took a few touches and ended up being point-blank with Mascari with an open net to the right, but she also put it directly at the rookie goaltender who made the quick reaction and got her hands on the shot to preserve the scoreless stalemate. That scoreboard reading would last through the halftime break as neither group was able to get the ball across the goal line.
The Lynx finally broke the deadlock in the 63rd minute on a great finish by Giusti. Halen made a nice pass from the right third of the pitch across to the middle of the box where Giusti was able to make a controlled touch from 15 yards out, turn and lace the ball perfectly into the bottom left corner of the net for her sixth of the year.
Not long after, in the 67th minute, LU came inches away from putting in a second. Rapant collected the ball on the right side of the box and blasted a shot that went a tad too high and rang off the crossbar.
Lesley would add a piece of insurance with 12:03 to play in regulation when a rebound ended fruitful for the Lynx. Senior Jasmine Sanchez (Chino, Calif.) worked her way into the box and took an open look at frame, but again Mascari came up with the big save. She couldn't contain the rebound as it trickled away, allowing sophomore Julie Essick (Borne, Texas) to run on and bury her second goal of the season for the 2-0 advantage, a score that stood through the remainder of the match.
Lesley junior keeper Jackie Berard (Coventry, R.I.) grabbed the win (6-1-0) after playing a scoreless second half in net without facing a shot on goal. Mascari turned away 17 Lynx shots in suffering the loss (2-7).
Lesley owned a huge advantage on corner kicks, taking 11 while not conceding a single one to SVC. A fairly composed game, Southern Vermont was whistled for five fouls, and the Lynx were guilty of only three.
The Lynx (7-2, 1-0 NECC) welcome Tufts University on Tuesday for an 8 p.m. non-conference tilt. SVC (2-7, 0-1 NECC) takes the week off before traveling to Daniel Webster College next Saturday, October 4, for a 1 p.m. NECC matchup.